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Can you read music?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Frettage, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Yes, I can read musical notation.

    263 vote(s)
  2. No, I can only read tab.

    41 vote(s)
  3. I can't understand either one.

    7 vote(s)
  1. Frettage


    May 30, 2009
    Louisville, CO
    I'm curious how many of you can read music and how many can only read tab.
  2. Icon5


    Feb 24, 2009
    I read. Tab is useful for fingering suggestions though.
  3. GaryM


    Jul 28, 2006
    Dundee, UK
    I can read music. I can't read ASCII tabs, they just look like strings of numbers. I can read tabs if they are formatted properly.
  4. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    I wouldn't be able to walk into a gig and read cold, but I do know how to read.
  5. ericw


    Aug 19, 2009
    Hagerstown, MD
    Technically I can read music. To put a piece of sheet music in front of me and expect me to play it fluently... no. But I am working on it!
  6. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Like some of the folks up there ^^^^ I can read, but wouldn't want to do a sight reading gig
  7. refbassist


    Mar 3, 2007
    i do read but not fluently!
  8. As pathetic as it sounds... I've been playing bass for 20 years and I am just now learning to read music. I should have done it a long time ago.
  9. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I used to be much better at it when I was in high school...now a days I only use it if I stumble upon a sheet music version of something, like when I had to learn "Something" by the Beatles a few months ago or "Basket Case" by Greenday last week and my instructor just happened to have them in sheet form.

    But yeah...I'm slow, I usually spend a good minute trying to think of which key has 4 sharps and then I have to play through the song at least twice to get the changes and heavily used notes into my brain and then over and over again if I want to stop missing fills and such due to my reading rusty-ness.
  10. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    I read and sight read well..I have made the majority of my $$ as a bassist due to my reading skills. I highly recommend that anyone pursuing a career as a bassist make learning to sight read a priority.
    The one mistake I made when I was 12 years old and learning to read was that I wasn't really listening, I was just reading the ink..I found that i could read almost anything but if the music was taken away and I had to play by ear..I couldn't hang..I have had to go back and work hard on listening/ ear training. So my point is learn to read but don't forget to listen!
  11. Krowser


    Feb 10, 2009
    I can decipher, not read.
  12. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I can read music. Used to be a lot better at it; seems like for the past half dozen years or so all the gigs I've been doing have been with rock bands that don't use charts or free-improv jazz combos, so my reading's a lot rustier than it was in the 80's & 90's when I was freelancing, playing commercial sessions and musical theater shows, GB gigs, lots of avant-jazz/chamber music. But I'll go on a sight-reading gig without hesitation

    ...which is not the same as saying "without trepidation" !

    Oh yeah, semantic quibble: Can anyone really "read" tab? I mean, are there people that see so much of it that you can throw a tablulature transcription in front of them and they can play it down cold? having never heard the part before? Does tab even convey all the info you would need to be able to play a part down cold having never heard it before?
  13. TheFantod

    TheFantod #5 of the Pentaverate. Took Col. Sanders' spot.

    Aug 7, 2009
    Eastern N.C.
    Been reading music since I was about 10. Quickly learned bass clef when I picked up the bass in High School.

    Tabs actually annoy me. For me it's much easier to read notes than tab numbers. Don't tell me where to put my fingers! ;);
  14. Jluckie3


    Mar 14, 2008
    endorsing artist Lakland basses
  15. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    I read but not as well as I want to. Wouldn't want to sight read a tune but I have played from a chord chart that I had never seen before and even that wasn't fun. Tabs are pretty easy but they're so imprecise that I really prefer to listen to a song and figure it out for myself. On originals I ask for the chords and listen really well to what the writer is doing with it so I will know what kind of feel he/she wants. I like to hear it more than once this way and like to have a clean MP3 of the song to work with before we do it in front of an audience (but don't always get this).

    This all sounds like I'm a better bass player than I am. Don't be fooled by it.
  16. crayzee


    Feb 12, 2009
    Mississauga, ON
    Used to be pretty decent at it back in high school. Kinda had to be when we'd get new music in Jazz and Concert band (bass and tuba). Now I could do it if I looked at it first. Reminds me, I really need to brush up.
  17. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    i don't understand why anyone would want to either just read tab, or even rely on tab at all.
  18. foq1978


    Aug 7, 2009
    Rio de Janeiro
    Yes, I can read it. But I am soooo out of practice...
  19. This is me.
  20. Trapezius


    Mar 1, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    Me too. I really need to learn to read properly.

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